Kenya Runners Training Camp
AP

Inside Kenya distance running training camp (photos)

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KAPTAGAT, Kenya (AP) — The hand-written roster — misspelled “rosta” — tells the runners when it’s their turn for communal chores. Stephen Kiprotich‘s name is on it. So is Eliud Kipchoge‘s.

At the Olympic Games, World Championships and the biggest marathons, both men are stars. But in the high-altitude training camp in western Kenya where they live like monks, they muck out shared toilets and do the washing up just like everyone else.

Kiprotich and Kipchoge are convinced their no-frills lifestyle is vital for their success. With their wealth, they could cover themselves with bling. Instead, they draw washing water from an outdoor well, drink milk from cows that graze the surrounding fields and share cramped bedrooms with other athletes.

On the wall above Kipchoge’s bed, the Olympic 5000m silver medalist in 2008 and bronze medalist in 2004 has hung a nugget of wisdom from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho — “If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule: Never lie to yourself.”

The winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons is both philosophical and frustrated about the doping crisis corroding the hard-earned reputation of Kenyan running, with 38 athletes banned since the East African nation won 11 medals at the 2012 Games in London.

Kipchoge blames the short-sighted pursuit of money.

“People forget that money cannot be harvested,” he says. “If you want to harvest the money, you need to plant the seeds. And what are the seeds? The seeds are hard training.”

Ochre-red dust ferrets itself into the smile-lines on his face and clings to his eyelashes and hairs on his legs during a punishing training run through the forest that he and dozens of other athletes from separate training camps meet up for before dawn.

By training together, the runners spur each other on, Kipchoge says.

“I help them, they help me,” he says. “This is mutual interest.”

The jangle of a bicycle bell screwed to the wall in the dormitory corridor signals the 5 a.m. start of the day at the Global Sports camp that Kiprotich and Kipchoge share with about a dozen other runners from Kenya and abroad.

They eat breakfast together around a plain wooden table in the kitchen hut, washing down sliced white bread with tea from a giant aluminum kettle, drunk from plain enamel tin mugs. Water is boiled in a blackened, wood-fired stove. Washed plates, mugs and cutlery are left in the sun to dry.

The communal recreation room has a small TV, a rare concession to modernity, and also doubles as a storage area for sacks of grain. Runners get leg-rubs on a massage table in one corner. The athletes’ training programs, scribbled by hand on torn-off sheets of paper, are pinned to the wall by the door.

Abdi Nageeye, a Somali-born Dutch athlete, is training for the first time at the camp. He was initially shocked by the Spartan conditions and “really starving from hunger.” But he has come to understand how it allows stars like Kipchoge to shut themselves off from outside distractions.

“His friends, they always want something from him,” he says. “It’s better for him to escape to here, no one will disrupt him.”

Nageeye and Kiprotich both say it wouldn’t be possible for a runner at the camp to dope without others knowing, because they live in such close proximity and barge into each other’s rooms without knocking.

Kiprotich, the Olympic marathon champion in 2012 and World champion in 2013, says drug testers regularly visit the camp unannounced to collect samples. He says he doesn’t understand why any athlete would dope.

“It seems that the athletes who do that, they want to make a shortcut, they don’t want to follow a long route,” he says.

The camp, he adds, “is the long route.”

It has been the Ugandan’s training base for six years. He says he loses track of days that blend into a blur of training, chores, and down-time.

“We live like soldiers and the reason I say that is because we do all the work. When the cook is not around, we cook for ourselves. On top of that we do training, and training must continue. If it is your time to do such and such a job, you make sure you do it very fast.”

“Rule number one: all athletes are equal,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter if you are a champion or an Olympic champion or an upcoming athlete, we are all the same.”

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In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo Kenyan long-distance runner Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor checks messages on his phone as he receives an after-training massage at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo Kenyan long-distance runner Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor checks messages on his phone as he receives an after-training massage at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, left, prepares to change clothes after his morning training run, in the small bedroom he shares with fellow runner Tareq Mubarak Taher, right, who represents Bahrain, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, left, prepares to change clothes after his morning training run, in the small bedroom he shares with fellow runner Tareq Mubarak Taher, right, who represents Bahrain, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo sweat-soaked clothes are draped over bushes to dry in the sun, as runner Nicholas Rotich takes a rest after the morning training run, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo sweat-soaked clothes are draped over bushes to dry in the sun, as runner Nicholas Rotich takes a rest after the morning training run, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo a hand-written roster pinned to the wall tells runners when it’s their turn to do communal chores, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo a hand-written roster pinned to the wall tells runners when it’s their turn to do communal chores, at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, center right, stretches with other athletes after their morning training run in Kaptagat Forest in western Kenya. At a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, center right, stretches with other athletes after their morning training run in Kaptagat Forest in western Kenya. At a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, second right, trains with other athletes just after dawn in Kaptagat Forest in western Kenya. At a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo winner of the London, Berlin and Chicago marathons Eliud Kipchoge, second right, trains with other athletes just after dawn in Kaptagat Forest in western Kenya. At a high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo a bicycle bell used to signal the athletes' 5 a.m. start of the day, hangs on the wall of the dormitory corridor at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this Jan. 30, 2016, photo a bicycle bell used to signal the athletes’ 5 a.m. start of the day, hangs on the wall of the dormitory corridor at the Global Sports camp near the village of Kaptagat in western Kenya. At the high-altitude training camp in Kenya, star athletes turn their back on modernity and bling for a simple life of hard training and communal, egalitarian living. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Hayley Wickenheiser is 7th woman elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Hayley Wickenheiser
AP
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Hayley Wickenheiser, arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time who retired in 2017, will be the seventh female player in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The six-time Canadian Olympian (once in softball) was elected in her first year of eligibility. Wickenheiser is joined by Sergei Zubov, who earned gold at the 1992 Albertville Games with the Unified Team, two-time Czech Olympic medalist Václav Nedomanský and 1980s and ’90s NHLer Guy Carbonneau, among others.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 18 in Toronto.

Wickenheiser is the fifth Canadian female player elected after Angela James (2010), Geraldine Heaney (2013), Danielle Goyette (2017) and Jayna Hefford (2018). Americans Cammi Granato (2010) and Angela Ruggiero (2015) are also Hall of Famers.

Wickenheiser, now the Toronto Maple Leafs’ assistant director of player development, earned four golds and one silver in the first five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments. She played 23 years for the Canadian national team, earning seven world titles and being named Olympic tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006.

She also carried the Canadian flag at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony and recited the Athletes’ Oath at the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony. She was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2014.

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Breaking provisionally added for 2024 Olympics

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Breaking (don’t call it break dancing) was provisionally added to the Olympics for the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC also announced Tuesday that skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were provisionally added to the 2024 Olympic program. Those three sports will debut at Tokyo 2020 but were not assured places on the Olympic program beyond next year.

“They contribute to making the program more gender balanced and more urban, and offer the opportunity to connect with the younger generation,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a press release. “The proposed sports are in line with these principles and enhance Paris 2024’s overall dynamic Games concept, which focuses on inclusivity, inspiring a new audience and hosting socially responsible Games.”

The IOC Executive Board will make the final decision on the Paris 2024 event program in December 2020, but no more sports can be proposed for inclusion. That means baseball and softball, which return to the Olympics next year, will not be on the 2024 Olympic program. Those sports can still be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Breaking debuted at the Youth Olympics last year, where the U.S. did not have any athletes. Sergei “Bumblebee” Chernyshev of Russia and Ramu Kawai of Japan took gold medals.

Breaking had never previously been up for a vote for Olympic inclusion, but the World DanceSport Federation is recognized by the IOC.

Teenagers, some of whom went by nicknames like Bad Matty, Senorita Carlota and KennyG, went head-to-head in dance battles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last year. They performed on a mat atop an outdoor basketball court to a musical beat and emcees.

Judges determined winners using six criteria: creativity, personality, technique, variety, perfomativity and musicality.

“Breaking (also called b-boying or b-girling) is an urban dance style,” according to the Youth Olympics. “The urban dance style originated during the mid 1970s in the Bronx borough of New York City.”

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